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Turnbull & Asser's Turf War

From the expansive scaffolding on East 57th Street , one would assume that Turnbull & Asser, the venerable British bespoke shirtmaker, was undergoing a major expansion, but that turns out not to be exactly the case.

California private equity group CIM and developer Harry Macklowe would like to build a massive building on the site of seven townhouses that includes the current home of Turnbull & Asser. Reportedly, the huge mixed use tower would include the former site of the Drake Hotel at 56th and Park Avenue and wrap around the back of 450 Park Avenue. It would certainly be a major real estate development that has apparently been years in the planning. While CIM controls the Drake site, Macklowe has purchased the houses at 38, 40, 44 and 50 E. 57th Street and CIM just purchased no. 46, currently the home of Buccellati. Turnbull, however owns the building at no. 42, and appears to have no intentions of leaving even as Macklowe has begun demolition procedures and is encroaching on all sides. Jacob & Co. more famously known as Jacob the Jeweler is also holding out at no. 48 East 57th. The New York Post reports that negotiations are under way for the famous royal warrant holding shirtmaker to make a location swap for the building at no. 50, which would at least give the developers some contiguous 57th street frontage, even if it's not as much as they would have liked, but no deal has yet been struck. Our prediction: Turnbull will probably move in a possible swap, but it's going to cost somebody a lot of money.

Turnbull townhouse tussle (NYPost via Crain's)


Zac Posen, Vena Cava, Tibi, SPURR, John Varvatos, Ever, Badgley Mischka, Tom Ford, Halston, Cole Haan, Seiko, Michael Kors, Bric's

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Happy clicking!

Zac Posen, Alex and Ani, Kooba, Vena Cava/Gryphon, Lagos, Lauren Moffatt, Tibi, Kathryn Amberleigh, House of Harlow Shoes, David Lerner, Karen Zambos —join HERE
Generic Man, Calvin Klein Coats, Arnold Zimberg, Hlaska, SPURR, Original Penguin, Vince, Diwon, John Varvatos Collection, Seven for All Mankind, Company of We, Ever —join HERE
Livio Radio, Porthos Wines, Rosanna Inc., Environment Furniture —join HERE
Real People, Vilebrequin, Amrita Singh, Vera Wang Home, Tom Ford, Halston Heritage, Yummie Tummie, Raynaud/Rochard Limoges, Cole Haan, Sebago, Bailey Street, Seiko, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger Home —join HERE
Juicy Couture, Atelier Luxe, Badgley Mischka, Arche, Pfaltzgraff, Lola, Sam & Libby, Rampage —join HERE
Bric's, Eccolo, Aviva Stanoff, Walters Wicker, Seda France, Lunares, Jennifer Adams Bedding, Unleashed Life Haute Dog Accessories, Karma Living Furniture, Birdkage Aprons  —join HERE
MICHAEL Michael Kors, Monarchy, Lodis, IMPROVD, Decades Denim, Joie, Max Studio, MG Balck Label —join HERE


Why Did Nicole Kidman Wear A Two-Year-Old Dior To The Oscars?

At this point, we all know the Oscars have become more of a fashion event than an awards show, and the red carpet arrivals are far more interesting than the show itself. There are a million people ranking who looked better than whom. We can't begin to enter that fray, and actually, nobody really looked terrible ...except for one person.

What happened to Nicole Kidman? Her white beaded Dior gown was ungainly and awkward looking, especially if you saw it from any angle other than straight on from the front. It was almost unianimously chosen by the innumerable fashion pundits as a major misstep. The strangest part of all: It was two years old! Kidman's dress was look #26 from the Spring 2009 Haute Couture Collection. Cate Blanchett's Givenchy and Michelle Williams' Chanel Couture dresses were both from the latest Spring 2011 collections (Looks #3 and #53 respectively, though Williams' was shown on the runway with an odd satin coat that the actress wisely discarded), and while host Anne Hathaway's white Givenchy was in fact from Fall 2009 Haute Couture (and, yes, it was shon as a wedding gown), she wore so many dresses, including new Tom Ford and Armani Privé, that it seems to matter less in her instance.

Designers and, more importantly, their public relations staffs are usually intensely careful about making sure their dresses are well represented at awards shows like the Oscars. It took only minutes after her performance for an email blast to go out notifying the world that Gwyneth Paltrow's onstage dress was right off the Michael Kors Fall 2011 collection runway. While we can attribute Kidman's (and her stylist's) choice as a matter of taste, we have to wonder why Dior would would have tossed a two-year-old gown to a major nominee often lauded as a fashion icon? It's not like anyone thinks she actually pulled it out of her own closet or anything like that. Especially considering the fact that Kidman herself was instrumental in promoting Dior designer John Galliano's first collection at the Oscars when she famously arrived in a green, chinese-style embroidered, mink-trimmed gown, wouldn't she have earned a bit more deference at this point? The house might not have seen this a blunder, but we can't see how it isn't. And, while they have bigger fish to fry at this very moment, wouldn't they have sent her some new dresses to choose from? Or at least some that looked better?


More Barneys Markdowns
For This Weekend

BarneysWarehouse-2-25-11Click the image for a larger view in a new window

Above, please find the latest price reductions at the Barneys Warehouse Sale as of Friday February 25th.

As you can see, Men's sportswear, blue-starred designer apparel and outerwear are down to 40% off while sport coats, tuxedos and ties have been added at 25% off. Everything else for men (including shoes) remains as marked.

For Women, shoes, lingerie and swim and red-starred designer apparel are now an extra 25% off. How and why these things are determined remains a mystery. We just pass along the news. Shop away!


A Close-Up Look At
Michael Bastian's Fall Gant Collection

We're having a busy Friday, and we were almost ready to check out for the weekend, but the fine folks at Gant sent us a link to this video shot at Michael Bastian's Fall presentation for the label a couple of weeks ago. As we mentioned, it will be Bastian's only collection for Fall as his own label is on a re-organizational hiatus for the season. The video gives you a close up look (a really close up look) at one of our favorite collections from Fashion Week. If that's not enough to entice you to click, think of it as an opportunity to just how flawless all those models look up close. Enjoy.

New York Fashion Week Day 3: Michael Bastian Heads North For Gant (2/14/2011)


Rebecca Taylor Sets Up Shop
On Gansevoort Street

Mott Street is no longer enough for popular contemporary designer Rebecca Taylor who just opened a new boutique in the Meatpacking District that doubles the size of her original Nolita shop and will raise her profile even more.

The new 1,800 square foot store, designed in partnership with APALondon, preserves original details like a tin ceiling for a setting that reflects Taylor's crowd pleasing feminine yet sexy aesthetic. In honor of the designer's 15th Anniversary she will introduce a new shoe collaboration with Porselli and a denim collection with Citizens of Humanity, but most importantly it is an expanded, relaxed environment for the clothes Taylor's customers have come to love in the the neighborhood where we know they like to shop.

Rebecca Taylor 34 Gansevoort Street between Hudson & Greenwich Streets, Meatpacking District


Vena Cava To Team Up With UNIQLO

After last year's well-received Costello Tagliapietra collaboration, you might be wondering who is the next young designer to work with UNIQLO. Though we haven't heard officially from the home office, Vena Cava designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock let it slip earlier this week at a Fashion Group International event that they are about to start working on a collection for the Japan-based retail giant. The panel discussion on entrepreneurship took place on Wednesday at Milk Studios also included Rent the Runway co-founders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss and Opening Ceremony co-founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, who have also collaorated with UNIQLO (but then who haven't they collaborated with at this point?). No specific details were given beyond the team's telling their audience,“It’s an opportunity for us to articulate our brand in a way that’s more mass.” Hopefully we'll have more information about the line soon.

Vena Cava Collaborating with Uniqlo (Fashion Etc.)


J.Crew's Flatiron Store Is 33.3% Open
& Little Sister Madewell
Will Soon Be Joining It

J.CrewAlmost Finished
We have to admit, J.Crew faked us out yesterday.

On Wednesday, there was a  sign hanging on the door  of its lower Fifth Avenue location that said that the store would be open at 10 AM Thursday morning after an extensive renovation that has kept it closed for the past several weeks and will eventually add an entire new floor to the already expansive flagship sized unit.

Out of the several J.Crews in the city, this one is actually The Shophound's favorite to shop as it is big and well stocked, but thankfully lacks the tourist crush of Rockefeller Center. We always feel like the Flatiron District caters more to New Yorkers than it does to visitors from far away like some other shopping neighborhhoods. As much as we admire the chain's three deluxe men's shops, sometimes we just want basics, and we should mention that this branch usually has an excellent selection of markdown merchandise when sale time rolls around. With a third floor, this one might turn out to be the city's biggest unit, so we were happy to have it back on the shopping circuit.

However, when we stopped by yesterday morning, we discovered that the renovation was not quite complete. The store is open, but only on the first floor. Renovations continue upstairs, and so the full unveiling is still some weeks away. What is there right now is simply a condensed version of what the store will eventually be, or, basically, a nice, medium sized J.Crew Store. It's better than none at all, and the neighborhood's collection of chain stores now seems complete again.

In related news, Crain's reports that the former Nine West space a few doors away a Fifth Avenue and 19th Street will soon become the city's second location for Madewell, J.Crew's hipper little sister. The 4,500 square foot space will be larger than the somewhat trickily configured location in SoHo at Broadway and Broome Street, so it should go some way to raise the still developing brand's profile.

Madewell sets sights on the Flatiron District (Crain's)


Etro Throws Off The Wraps In SoHo

It was only weeks ago that The Shophound was wondering if Etro would ever open its long-gestating, but today's WWD announces that the store is finally finished. so we made it our business to check it out immediately, after all, two and a half years is a long time to wait.

We hardly recognized the corner of Spring and Greene Streets without the yards of plywood covering that had been installed there. What was hiding underneath was also barely recognizable. In fairness, the last occupant of the space was a deli, but you wouldn't know it, which is to Etro's credit. Though WWD reports the store as opening on Friday, it is, in fact, open at this very minute, and, according to its genial staff, has been since Saturday. Add it to the list of upcoming stores that couldn't quite get the paint dry before the end of Fashion Week, but their willingness to take their time rather than rush things is evident in the beautifully finished store.

The store's main floor is devoted to Etro's men's collection with a round table full of their iconic ties right up front. Variations of the label's signature paisley prints appear throughout the merchandise, as any Etro fan would expect, and a few colorful tweed sportcoats were pointed out to us as having been specially made for the store to be wearable in season for a February opening.

Downstairs, a more expansive basement has been finished to hold the women's collection, and though it is as summery looking as can be, there are still plenty of featherweight cashmere scarves to wear for the next few weeks. In fact, Etro serves as something of a counterpoint to Alexander Wang, SoHo's other big addition of last week. While Wang's store is all minimal sleekness housing an assortment of mostly black, hard edged romanticism, Etro spills over with colorful, bohemian romanticism, and it's hard to imagine that even those among us dedicated to a dour, monochromatic wardrobe couldn't be charmed by the eye popping color and pattern of Etro's prints.

Officially, we were told that the Etro family, which still controls the company, couldn't think of the proper concept for the space, and, since they owned the property outright, they simply sat on it until they figured out what they wanted to do. Ah the dream of owning rather than renting! Though we tend to suspect they were also waiting for the luxury retail market to perk up, this story seems plausible enough to us, and now that the store is open we can report that it was worth the wait.

Etro Opens SoHo Store (WWD)
Watching And Waiting: Will Etro's SoHo Boutique Ever Open? (12/20/2010)


Dominatrix Goes Uptown Edition

NYT-CC-AgentProvocateur This weeks Critical Shopper installment sends Cintra Wilson to Madison Avenue's latest addition, an outpost of the deluxe naughty lingerie chain Agent Provocateur. We are not at all surprised to see La Cintra in top form in today's Thursday Styles as she makes a convincing case connecting the continued thriving of luxurious sex shops with a combination of a weak economy and easy access internet porn. Somehow, it all falls into place, even if Agent Provocateur doesn't seem to settle so comfortably on tony Madison Avenue. Perhaps it will take a bit of time for the new store to make friends with the new neighbors, but unlike with downtown shoppers, Madison's wealthy, tourist heavy customer base and a toned-down Agent Provocateur don't quite know what to make of each other,

Who, then (besides sex workers, for whom such dainties are, arguably, a professional expense), buys this tricked-out, candy-apple shellacked hot rod of outlandishly expensive yet adolescently cartoonish love for sale, on Madison Avenue? The women I saw seemed to want nothing more than to throw beige cashmere cardigans over these rococo brassieres. The store uncomfortably exposes people for their exact level of sexual maturity — or not.

Perhaps a little time and a few late night hours on the internet will warm the neighborhood up to it's newcomer, until then, it sounds like the place will be a treasure trove of awkward moments and nervous giggling.

Critical Shopper: Agent Provocateur, Selling Kink on Madison Avenue By Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Agent Provocateur 675 Madison Avenue between 61st & 62nd Streets, Upper East Side